ids to be destroyed

The Department of Home Affairs will destroy more than half a million identity document that have not been collected by applicants.

The Department of Home Affairs will destroy more than half a million identity document that have not been collected by applicants.

The department says that this is to keep the uncollected ID's from falling into the wrong hands and being used in criminal activities. The department is stuck with 524618 identity documents.

KwaZulu-Natal leads the numbers with 111395, followed by Gauteng with 92410 and Eastern Cape with 89284. The province with least IDs to be destroyed is Northern Cape with 9661.

This is despite the department using an SMSes to notify people when to collect their IDs.

Home Affairs spokesperson Cleo Mosana said: "We have improved our turnaround time for people to get their ID quicker but now they are not collecting them."

She said that after a year an unclaimed ID had to be destroyed for security reasons.

Mosana said that the department was not going to penalise people who did not collect their IDs.

"We do not know why they are not collecting them. We need to educate them and make them aware of the cost involved," she said.

In the past IDs were posted to people or given to traditional leaders.

Four people, among them a traditional leader and a school principal, were arrested on fraud charges after being linked to scams through which illegal immigrants obtained legal South African identity documents.

When Sowetan visited the Home Affairs offices in Orlando, Soweto, it took people less than 30 minutes to apply for an ID.

Sandile Shabalala from Jabulani, who was there to collect his ID, said that he was happy with the service.

"I applied in November last year and they said that they would notify me via SMS to come and collect it but I lost my phone. So I do not know how long my ID has been here," he said.

Shabalala said it was strange for people not to collect their ID since it was hard to live without it.

Sibongile Mposula from Zola 2 said that she was there to apply for a new ID because she had lost her's.

"I am impressed. They just sent me an SMS confirming my application," Mposula said.

She said she was told that she would be notified by SMS when to collect her's within four to six weeks.

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